02 December 2010
According to a study by a German university, anti-Jewish sentiments are far more wide-spread in Germany than in other western European countries. The study reveals that 29 percent of Germans have negative attitudes toward the Jews. In the Netherlands, the figure is only 10.1 percent, in Denmark 12.2, in Portugal 20.9 and in France 20.8, according to the religious sociologist Detlef Pollack of Münster University’s excellence cluster ‘Religion and Politics’. The study also found negative attitudes of Germans vis-à-vis other religious and ethnic minorities to be far more widespread than in other countries – especially toward Muslims.
According to the researchers, whether or not Germans know Muslims personally strongly impacts their attitudes towards them. “The differences between Germany and the other countries are downright dramatic when it comes to personal attitudes towards Muslims”, said Pollack. While the majority of the Dutch, the French and the Danes think positively of Muslims (62 percent, 56 percent and 55 percent, respectively), the same is only true for a minority of Germans: 34 per cent in the west and 26 per cent in formerly Communist east.
“If there were a terrorist attack now in Germany, as is being feared, [… a] majority of people would feel vindicated in their negative attitude [toward Muslims]”, Pollack said. He voice astonishment at the fact that education about Germany’s Nazi past had not borne more fruit concerning attitudes toward Jews, and added that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict probably played an important role.
Read the press release on the Münster University study here.
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